Thursday’s editorial encourages Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint to put their overt display of partisanship aside and vote for fixes to problems in the new health care law that they were just recently criticizing.
Though mostly obscured by a year’s worth of irresponsible rhetoric, there were plenty of reasonable policy objections to be made to our country’s health care law.
The major issues were mostly settled by President Obama’s signature on Tuesday. Even if Republicans retake the House, Senate and presidency in rapid succession, the new law truly does incorporate enough popular Republican ideas that an outright repeal of it is extremely unlikely.
Yet the reform bill was far from flawless, and it will certainly itself continue being reformed. And the first of the reforms – addressing concerns raised by Republicans and Democrats alike – has already passed the House and is being debated by the Senate right now in what is called the reconciliation bill.
Perhaps the clearest change is the elimination of the notorious “Cornhusker kickback,” widely decried as congressional vote-trading at its worst and condemned by innumerable Republicans all the way through Sunday night’s debate. One way the bill covers more people is by expanding the federal Medicaid program to people slightly above the poverty line (making up to about $29,000 for a family of four), and while the federal government picks up the tab for most of that coverage, most states were expected to pay a small share of it.
Most states. In an effort to coax forth a wavering Nebraska Democrat’s vote, the Cornhusker state was exempted from having to pay for the expansion to its residents. The outcry over this deal was so strong that our own attorney general rushed to cable news to threaten a lawsuit over the whole bill because of it.
House Democrats were similarly
nonplussed, so the package of fixes to the Senate bill that they and President
Obama designed last week changes the whole system. Special consideration for
Again, whether you disagree with the larger reform bill or not, this is undeniably an improvement (as are other elements in reconciliation, such as more money to investigate Medicaid fraud and other provisions). With President Obama’s signature, the Senate’s version is now law, so in a sane world one would expect the Republicans previously so outraged over the Cornhusker kickback would welcome a chance to fix it, perhaps even praising the majority party for admitting its error.
Instead, they’re threatening to do
everything they can to stop it.
These are changes they demanded – why would they not vote for them now?
The answer, of course, is that they
are following the logic that has dominated the health care opposition all
along. The cries of “government takeover” never subsided, even when the
government-run plan was excluded from the bill. The mantra of “jam it down our
throats” never faded, even though the bill is strikingly similar to the
Republicans’ health plan during the
Do South Carolinians now want to
Health care has dominated national politics for a year. Agree or disagree with Sunday’s vote, it is done and over, and most people would like to now see the national temperature begin to fall. Our country still faces a number of challenges that will best be solved with bipartisan approaches – financial-market reform, Social Security’s looming insolvency, tax reform, even immigration and energy policy – and we hope both parties will attempt to join together to address them.